By Anna Booty
You know the ones. A couple of hours after work and a couple before home time and you can go to a gallery to get free booze under the pretence of being cultured.
I have to go to a lot of these for work. I can just about manage to keep professional around a free bar but I have deep problems surrounding the vol-au-vonts.
“How?” I hear you ask “They are so delicious!”
“Exactly” I say.
Take last week. I go to a lovely party. Nice people, lots of waiters carrying bottles of something fizzy going around. All great so far.
But I forget about the second glass that I’m supposed to be working. I’m supposed to talking to people who think I’m a professional and that really gets in the way of eating the vol-au-vonts, y’know?
Like the large steaming hot risotto balls, perched precariously on top of a cocktail stick that fall apart when you take a bite. Or the sticky pork ribs covered loosely with parsley that gets stuck in your teeth, accompanied with a side dip. Or delicious smoked salmon in those soup spoons that look like this:
That actually is quite a deep spoon, you really have to shovel that salmon in to your mouth when it’s in one of those. The tipping elbow is at maximum point, the head is as far back as it will go, you might even have to get your front teeth involved in some sort of grabby biting action if the salmon refuses to budge – that’s not a professional look.
It is an impossible game to look professional, talk with any meaning, hold a wine glass and shovel food in your mouth – which is usually done whole just so it’s out of the way. And yes, I’m talking about the giant risotto balls.
If your client isn’t unsettled by you trying to be smooth while desperately eyeballing them so they don’t look down at the mess that is your cheeks:
They will certainly get alarmed when the sweat beads start forming on your forehead and your skin turns a ripe shade of vermillion as that deep hot centre of gooey rice starts burning your mouth… just out of the microwave. Damn those tasty balls.
Of course, most politely decline and don’t eat anything to avoid this very situation. They are neither desperately starving nor financially bankrupt. They know they will eat again. Maybe at home later? At a table? Where they can put their glass down and use two hands and a napkin to eat. Right now, they have to do some business, talk to some people about work things and listen to things properly.
But not me.
I’m never starving but I can always eat (“oh, you mean greedy?”) and I have a cupboard at home with stuffs to last me for the week. I’d love to listen about company business plans but I come over all loosey-goosey under those bubbles.
How can I resist? I’ve just finished work and someone places a drink in my hand. Down it goes, one top-up makes two, after which, I’ve pretty much forgotten my boss asked me to come and I’m definitely having a third.
That means when I get a whiff of some succulent beef steak strips with some butter cream sauce, I’ll have to stop you there, Partner, because I’m going in. I like to think it’s a certain individuality and confidence that are represented by a determination to get as much food and free booze as you can, but also a concern for the environment. No-one likes waste these days.
So when you go to these parties, eat loads of everything. Not only does it mean you get a free dinner but it also makes you look really powerful eco-warrior and they are super popular.
Just look at Leonard DiCaprio.